My Thoughts about Taipei

I have just moved to Taipei last weekend and I am going to share with you guys my initial thoughts about the place. Obviously, it’s going to be really different than just visiting but my comments will be mostly about my impressions of my first days here as a new city girl.

Taipei is a really good place in general. It is one of the safest places for women in the Asian country, so that’s a plus, right? The city is also a place where you can actually experience the hustle and bustle since it is the capital of the country. It is a good place all in all, so I am going to share with you guys my impressions about the place as a resident.

1. Food is expensive. Some of may totally disagree with this but before you say something, give me the chance to explain first. haha I used to live in Taoyuan City which is a rural area in Taiwan.  So, everything in Taoyuan is cheap like food, water, and rent. But now that I am living in the city, everything is much much more expensive.

If anyone plans to live in Taipei for a long term, definitely have to check your budget.

2. A little bit of old in the new. For me, when I first came to Taipei, I immediately noticed that the city is very modern. They have a lot of beautiful, tall buildings which implies that the architectural structures of the city are quite advanced. But what amazes me is that with all of this modernization, they still haven’t forgotten their historic side. They have still preserved old streets, museums, relics, temples which is very patriotic to me in a sense. I believe that a country who makes the current civilization remember their past experiences, all of the hardships, trials, joy, and pride that their ancestors have experienced will make them appreciate what their country has today.

3. Convenient Transportation System. One of the main reasons why I moved to Taipei is because of the convenient subway system (MRT). In the country, only Taipei and Kaohsiung have subways. As a city girl who came from Manila, Philippines and became a rural girl that moved to Taoyuan where there’s only buses, railway, and taxi makes me miss taking the subways. I just think that subways make commuting so easy!

4. Accommodating Taiwanese people. There is a saying in Taiwan that the best view in Taiwan is the people. I couldn’t agree more with that saying. The people who live in the country are very warm and helpful to foreigners. Although the country is not that proficient in English but they would pull our Google Translate just to help you.

Hope my observations and initial impressions of the country could help you if you plan to visit or settle in the country. Taiwan is a lovely country! Please do not hesitate to message me if you want more advice.

Love,

Caye

 

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Something from the Philippines

The Philippines is my home country. I was born and raised in this beautiful archipelago (sense the bias?)

Last summer, my family and I went to Bohol. We went to a lot of tourist spots like the famous Chocolate Hills, Man-made Forest, and Alona Beach (pictures below!) This beach is one of the most photogenic places I’ve been to.

 

Alona Beach, Bohol
Alona Beach

 

 

Dragonfruit ice cream
Dragonfruit Ice Cream

 

Bought this ice cream at The Buzzz Cafè – Alona Beach. This ice cream comes in a lot of flavors most of them are in fruit flavors. This ice cream is so unique because it is dragonfruit. It’s my first time ever to try this flavor and I definitely will eat a lot more next time!

Location:

The Buzzz Cafè – Alona Beach: Alona Beach, Alona Beach Rd, Panglao, 6340 Bohol, Philippines

 

double rainbow at Alona Beach
Double rainbow at Alona Beach

 

We are very fortunate to be able to see a double rainbow after long hours of rain at Bohol. At first, we were disappointed that it rained on our first day because who likes a rainy weather when traveling? However, God has something better planned which is why He told us to stick through the rain and gave us this beautiful view. The double rainbow is really magnificent, the picture doesn’t do it justice!

 

Coconut trees at Alona Beach
Coconut trees at Alona Beach

To all the people who wanted to visit The Philippines, please do go to Bohol. The island has not yet been modernized, so if you want an island life you may check this out! If you want to know more about this place, please don’t hesitate to ask me.

Hope you all enjoyed a little snippet of my Bohol trip! 🙂

Love,

Caye

 

Jiufen and Shifen Trip!

Hi guys!

Hope you are all having a good day!

I would like to share my Jiufen and Shifen trip with you all! Last weekend my friend and I went to Keelung City. Being there, we decided we would visit Jiufen and Shifen since it’s nearer as compared to coming from Taoyuan or Taipei. We then rode a 400NTD taxi to Jiufen. I know what you are all thinking, not very practical for students right? But whatever, I don’t want all of our time wasted on riding the bus or train. So yeah, we went to Jiufen as you can see in the picture below. That is actually the first photo of myself that I have posted on this blog.

Jiufen Old Street

We are actually quite lucky by the time we went to visit Jiufen, there aren’t a lot of people and it’s a Saturday! So if you guys want to visit this place, you have to go there on weekdays for you not to risk going there with a lot of people. You don’t want a crowded place amidst a hot and sticky weather! (Gross!) I also suggest you should go there around 3 PM in the afternoon, so the sun would not be as bright and it will be much cooler.

Jiufen Old Street is really interesting because of the old architecture and red lanterns. I really love how they designed the whole place with red lanterns because it just really makes you feel like you are in the ancient times. I also love how the Taiwanese government decided to preserve this place which I really agree with. I think it is a great idea for the government to preserve these things and places because it will give the youth an opportunity to know more about the country’s history. It gives them the opportunity to know the lifestyle, culture, and thinking of their ancestors. If you are into these kinds of old streets like me, there are a lot of old streets actually around the country. Here is a link of all the old streets in Taiwan.

Mode of Transportation:

I will just link a guide for you to click on Guide to Jiufen.

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Get a glimpse of Jiufen Old Street (My first ever photo of me posted in this blog, FYI) haha
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Overlooking the sea

九份心食堂

For our lunch, we have decided to have it in this restaurant. This restaurant is actually quite new because I was trying to find the location of this restaurant in Google Maps and I actually can’t find it yet. This restaurant serves good food and it’s not pricey at all!! The pictures are there down below. If you’re finding a restaurant in this place, I will recommend you to go to this restaurant. Also, if you went there on a really hot day, you can drop by this place since it has really cold AC. The interior of this restaurant is kind of like Japanese style which is quite ironic since this place is a Taiwanese old street. But I don’t know, maybe they would also want to cater to the Japanese market (Marketing side of me is actually showing haha).

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The name of the restaurant

 

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If you are a tourist and you would want to try local cuisine, you should try these 3 dishes.

 

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Xiao Long Bao

 

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This. is. a. soup… I’m sorry I don’t know the name of this soup haha but I’m pretty sure it’s the only soup on their menu.

 

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Taiwanese Braised Pork Rice Bowl

 小師父 Xiao Shi Fu

We have passed by also with this place but we weren’t able to dine here. They serve Hainanese chicken (for all the Singaporeans out there, love your Hainanese chicken btw!). I have heard a lot of great reviews about this place. I would love to try this restaurant next time if I am able to visit Jiufen again. So if you guys are into Hainanese chicken, you can check this place out!

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Address: No. 155 台湾, Jishan Street, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, 224

Hanlin Tea House

Let me start off by saying, I really love this place!! This place is really cool since you can go to the basement of this tea house and enjoy the scenic view of Jiufen! Well, actually they have the first floor and the basement for you to enjoy the view.

They serve milk teas and other Taiwanese desserts. Their serving sizes are really big which is why they charge much more when you’re going to dine in. It would much cheaper if it’s taken out. I remember this Panda Milk Tea is only around 85NTD for take outs and 175NTD for dine in. You might me wondering why they call it Panda Milk Tea when it’s usually just Bubble Milk Tea, I actually didn’t have the opportunity to ask them about this. So, sorry guys haha but don’t worry, the milk tea is fantastic!! In my opinion, this milk tastes creamier which means you can taste more of the milk than the tea. They also have to kinds of boba in this drink. One is the pearl which is the black one and another is a much smaller, white colored Boba.

Again if you went there, it’s  hot, and you’re a cold-blooded person like me, you can check this place out since they provide a very cool AC.

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The place calls this their Panda Milk Tea
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Scenic view of the cafe

Location: No. 148 Jishan street Ruifang District, New Taipei City, 224 (224新北市瑞芳區基山街148號)

Side trip

After Jiufen, my friends and I have decided to go back to our hotel at Keelung ( I know, we’re so lazy). We rode the taxi again and we’re on our way. But in that ride, the driver asked us if we wanted to go to the other places like Shifen Waterfall, Shifen Lantern Street, and Golden Waterfalls for only 2000NTD. For me, that’s a good deal since it’s the 4 of us in the taxi and each of us would only be paying 500NTD. That is a really good deal for me since the cost of riding trains would be time-consuming, tiring and not practical. By riding the taxi, you can save energy and time. The cost is also quite the same, so the money you would be paying is already worth it. Sometimes you can ask the driver to take you to more places but be sure to haggle to get cheaper prices!

The taxi driver took us to this place as a side trip. This place is so amazing! It is an overlooking of the ocean and mountains of Taiwan.

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Shifen Waterfall

When you’re going to Shifen Waterfalls, you have to walk for 10 minutes for you to get there. You would also pass by a hanging bridge and a railway which is still working. Trains pass by once in a while.

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Shifen Waterfall
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Enjoying my popsicle while I am amazed at how beautiful the waterfall is ❤
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The other side of Shifen Waterfall

Location: 226, New Taipei City, Pingxi District, 乾坑10號

Golden Waterfall

This place is very beautiful since, by the name itself, it is covered in gold. The reason its gold is that of the huge amount of rainfall and a mining area beside the place. The waterfall is not the only location that has gold but when you’re going to take a look at the canal when riding a car or something, it is also gold! Amazing!

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Golden Waterfall
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A random mountain or hill across the street

Location: Jinshui Road, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, 224

I hope you all enjoyed reading as much as I did travelling. Let me know if you also went to these places. I would love to hear your stories! Hope you all have a great rest of your day!

Love,

Caye

We went to Keelung City!!

My friend and I had the privilege of traveling (most of) Keelung last weekend. We went there on Friday afternoon and went home on Sunday afternoon. It was not really hard to go there knowing we are living in Taoyuan, but thanks to the very convenient transportation system of Taiwan, we were able to reach Keelung by riding just one train! So glad that commuting is hassle free!

A super short background of Keelung (According to Wikipedia):

Keelung City is a port city near Taipei, in northern Taiwan. Surrounded by mountains, it’s known for its sheltered harbor.

With that being said, the first thing you see when you get out from the train exit are harbors, large ships, and water! We got off at the North Exit of Keelung Station btw! You can also get out of the South exit but we did not do that since our hotel is nearer at the North Exit. Upon arriving at Keelung, we had our lunch at Burger King. Then we went straight to our hotel.

 

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At the ceiling of Keelung Train Station, North Exit side (so beautiful!!)

 

 

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What you see when heading out of North Exit of Keelung Train Station

 

 

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Keelung Port

 

Beidoo Hotel

We stayed at the Beidoo Hotel. The location of Beidoo hotel is very convenient since it is around 8 minutes walk from the Train Station. A bakery can be found near the hotel. A lot of restaurants are also near the place. So if you are hungry at night, you can just go out and eat. Miaokou Night market is also near the hotel. Plus, a 32-floor mall is also near the place! That 32-floor mall has Muji, Uniqlo, and other stuff. The room is very clean! Their employees are also very accommodating and warm. Don’t worry if you cannot speak fluent Chinese, some of them can speak English (not that fluent though, but enough to communicate).

We first chilled at the hotel for a few hours because we are still waiting for our friends and it’s really hot to walk outside, so we just decided to play Everwing to kill time! Yes, we love Everwing!! haha

Location: No. 319號, Xin’er Road, Zhongzheng District, Keelung City, 202

Phone: 02 2422 7899

Jasmine Cafe (茉莉森咖啡)

When our friends have arrived, we first went to Jasmine Cafe to catch up. They serve really good drinks. Don’t worry if you’re not into coffees and frappes because they also have fresh fruit juices for you! This place is a really chill place; the ambiance is also really cozy. The price is also not that expensive that is why if you plan to chill at Keelung City, you can visit this cafe!

Location: 200, Keelung City, Ren’ai District, 孝二路98號

Phone: 02 2429 5857

Miaokou Night Market

We had dinner at Miaokou Night Market. This night market is really unique for me because of the numbers located at the side of every restaurant sign. Most of the food they are selling is seafood and kiampong (Hokkien Chinese Rice Casserole). They are so good!! This is not the typical night market where you only find stinky tofu and milk tea which is why this night market is very unique for me.

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Raw Sea Urchins

 

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Huge Escargot

 

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Clams
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Roasted Suckling Pig or better known as Lechon for the Filipinos (Upper right) and Raw Sea Urchins (Bottom)
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Bamboo shoot with Mayonnaise

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Kiampong (love)
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Strawberry Bingsu for dessert

 

Location: Rensan Road, Ren’ai District, Keelung City, 200

I definitely had a great time here! Would definitely come back! To all who are planning to go to Taiwan, visit this city for a unique experience!

Love,

Caye

I Love Sipahh!!

This is one of my favorite things lately!

I found this one at Costco about a month ago. They were having it as a free taste. At first, I was just a normal shopper where I just line up in every free taste section (I know we all do that! haha) But I happen to line up in this small booth and I tried the choc mint flavor. After that, I immediately got so attached to it! I have never stopped buying ever since. haha!

What is Sipahh?

Sipahh is a straw that has what they call pearls inside. Those pearls have different flavors depending on what the package states. The company recommends you to use the straw while drinking your milk.

I bought my second box which is the one you are seeing at the pictures below! It’s the Cafe Multipack Limited Edition. Only Iced Latte and Chocolate Straws are the flavors inside this box. They are now also available at Carrefour (Thank You, Lord!) Now, I don’t have to go all the way to Costco just to buy this. Not that I’m being biased but you know Carrefour is more accessible and convenient since it has a lot of branches here in Taiwan.

Here are some photos of my super favorite Sipahh!

 

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Some of the flavors you can try out when you purchase the box! They have so many flavors available for you all, those were just the flavors that I haven’t consumed yet ( because they were really that good!)

My personal favorites are:

COCO-BEAN CHOCOLATE, LUSCIOUS STRAWBERRY, CHILLED-OUT CHOC MINT and ICE COOL HIPSTER LATTE! ❤

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If you guys are wondering what the pink bird and dolphin are, they’re PEN RESTS!! I bought them at Yingge Old Ceramics Street! They have a wide array of products for you to choose from! Plus, they’re just cheap! around 30NTD for one.

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You have to drink it with your milk because that is the main instructions on how to use this straw. Although I sometimes drink it with water just to consume all of the pearls!

Now you can turn your plain boring milk into a flavorful one! I honestly get excited on what flavors I should try when it’s time for me to drink my milk!

Here are some of the simple joys I look forward to every day in life! You know how they say it’s very important to appreciate the simple things. Well, this is one of the things that make me smile every day! Hope you all appreciate all the simple things in your life as well (You don’t want your life to be as mundane as mine)!

Love,

Caye

Unsettling thought

Hi!

Good evening everyone or good morning rather since it’s already 12.05AM!

Around 9 PM yesterday, I am on my way back to the dorm. As I rode the bus, an unsettling thought occurred in my head. It is a question that would seem easy to somebody but it is not for me. That question could also be evident to someone but it is not to me. This question kept bothering me until I reached my dorm. I have talked about it with my best friend, Vina. And it seems that she was thinking about the same thing. So, I think all of you are itching to know what this question is. The question is…

What am I going to do with my future?

What am I going to do with my future? This question is a very important question as it determines the course of your life and it affects most of the primary decisions you are going to make. To some people, most of their future are all laid out upon them. To some people, the future is easy to them because job offers actually come to them and they don’t have to search for a job and go through interviews. But to me, a normal citizen of the Philippines and currently residing in Taiwan, my future is a blank page.

On a side note: Let me be frank with y’all. The reason I am writing this now is so I can have an outlet for my emotions. My thoughts needed a place to reside ( I don’t know if that really made sense but you know what I mean 😉 ).

Going back to what I was saying, my future felt so foreign to me. I don’t know if I was the one resisting the change that was already happening. I felt like I was not yet ready for the “adulting” life. But then again I started to revel in these thoughts and I realized something.

I realized that everyone goes through this stage and it is perfectly normal to feel this way. Everyone feels uncertain about their future. Everyone is struggling on what they should do with their life. Everyone starts with baby steps in navigating through their future. In doing so, this makes them discover what they want along the way. The beauty of starting off with a blank page is that anything is possible and any road leads you to where you wanna be!

Please pardon my writing skills as I am new to this. This is Caye and welcome to the Mundane Life of an Expat!

Love,

Caye